"Tekkonkinkreet", literally translated as reinforced concrete, is an hypnotic experience set upon the kaleidoscopic drop of some truly gorgeous drawings which tells the tale of two street urchins as they do battle with an array of colourful characters in order to defend their city from being taken over. Adapted from the three volume manga series by Taiyo Matsumoto, the film doesn't usually carry the infuriating hallmarks of a manga-to-anime switch over, which can often make the film an unenjoyable experience as the viewer struggles to come to terms with the story and characters and in the process miss the film. In this instance, any preconceptions are staved as "Tekkonkinkreet" absorbs the viewer all but instantly in a cacophony of animation, sound and, perhaps surprisingly, emotion.
Tekkonkinkreets original manga form is what is known as a "seinen" manga, which is a subset of the animated genre which targets males, usually, from between the ages of eighteen and thirty, and as a twenty-four year old male myself, I perhaps enjoyed it more than others outside my demographic bracket. Ostensibly, it is a boys film as the premise bases itself on gangster films as our two street urchin protagonists, the aptly named "Black" and "White" find themselves coming into contact with an ever escalating array of Yakuza as they try to take over the ridiculously sublime "Treasure Town". There is a great deal of violence within the film (which while in my eyes completely justifies the progression of the film is incredibly misleading when you look at the UK Film Certificate Branding of a mere 12) as the battles waged become more intense, more bloody and more important to the survival of our two heroes. Tekkonkinkreet also utilises a much more avant-garde style of animation which we are currently beginning to see more of in the western world as an increasing acceptance of things which are outside of the "norm" are filtering through, and it is certainly befitting of the style. Tekkonkinkreet successfully delivers on appeasing any and all who are looking for high quality hand drawn animation which surpasses the eternally vapid conveyor belt of repetitiveness that is Pixar, but it also delivers on being more than just a "fighting" film.
The intrinsic parts of Tekkonkinkreet prove in being the messages the director and original creator are wishing to convey to their audiences, of which there are two major points. Firstly, we have the ying and yang nature of Black and White, how their coexistence is precisely that, how they are mirror images of each other, how in essence they are two parts of the same hole and that you could be forgiven for thinking someone spliced a singular entity at birth to form two. "Black" is the streetwise member of the "Cats", as they are known within the city, as he has a savvy and cunning which has enabled he and white to be high on the Treasure Town food chain. As expected for being orphaned children, each have their issues, and with Black it is the impression that he is only one bad day away from total insanity and mental breakdown, while with "White" the issue is if he were to have a mental breakdown it wouldn't have much to break. White is stated as being eleven within the film yet quite clearly finds it difficult keeping a grasp on reality and his surroundings as his mental age is quite obviously, less than that. However, it is not merely how much White relies on Black for survival with the treacherous confines, but it is also how much Black relies on White, as the director twists the uses of Black and White and indeed Good and Evil as roles interchange in all quarters. Secondly, we have yet again another confrontation, another coming together of two forces yet this time it is more theory based. Treasure Town is a gloriously colourful island sitting sedately in the centre of a river yet its buildings and inhabitants for all their grandeur seem incredibly outdated. Treasure Town isn't exactly a time warp but you could be forgiven for thinking so, it is a place contented in its own time, but for the Yakuza this is not acceptable as they wish to bring Treasure Town forward into the 21st Century, to update the scenery, to turn it into a money making venture of epic proportions . This second theme resonates with a fear of old replacing new, yet the new not being perhaps as grand as everyone believes it to be, it is a fear of traditions being eradicated by a machine which has no need for sentiment, and this feeling, from both points of view, is embedded within characters on all sides of the battle.
Tekkonkinkreet is a highly charged emotional film, which looks at characters interactions and dependence on each other the yings and yangs within the city itself, the coming together of old and new and more evidently, people's desire for power. The phrase "my city" is uttered on numerous occasions as individuals all attempt to lay claim to the treasured turf, yet none truly understanding what the phrase means or why they are saying it. Tekkonkinkreet is a highly successful anime, which blends together elements of crime, violence, humour and fantasy creating a cerebral journey for the senses as director Michael Arias superbly transcribes this moralistic tale with an energetic style of directing which perhaps possesses some of the best and "coolest" "reveal" shots in recent times. Tekkkonkinkreet is an absorbing adventure which transcends genres and blurs styles in a hot pot of beautiful angst and proves itself to be worth a watch for any who allows themselves to be enveloped by a world which is never told in black and white.
Action / Adventure / Animation / Crime
Action / Adventure / Animation / Crime
In Treasure Town, life can be both peaceful and violent. This is never truer than for our heroes, Black and White - two street kids who claim to traverse the urban city as if it were their own. But in this town, an undercurrent of evil exists and has its sights set on the pair of brothers, forcing them to engage in battle with an array of old-world Yakuza as well as dangerous assassins vying to rule the decaying metropolis, Treasure Town.
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May 14, 2019 at 09:52 AM